For an 8.8-gigabyte PlayStation video game file — the average size of video games in 2010 — the resources required to produce, distribute, and dispose of Blu-ray discs are far less than the energy required to power servers, routers, and networks involved in downloading the game file, researchers say. The advantages of discs decrease as file sizes shrink, the analysis found, and for game files less than 1.3 gigabytes, downloading has a smaller carbon footprint than purchasing the game on Blu-ray. (via)Gameplay (use) still accounts for 93% of lifetime emissions, and as the authors observe, "The results of this study are unlikely to change or influence consumer behaviors; the carbon emissions of production and distribution are not known to be factors consumers consider when buying electronic goods or entertainment media." One might imagine online movie rentals like Netflix has a similar profile vs. in-store rentals.
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